ZURICH – The Swiss Ice Hockey Association confirmed on Monday that they will go into the 2009-2010 season with Ralph Krueger as their national team coach. However, the tone of today’s media release might not be music to Krueger’s ears.
Krueger has already possessed a contract until May 2010 but after missing the quarterfinals in the 2009 World Championship on home ice and being under fire from the tabloids, the Swiss were in need to decide about Krueger’s future and eventually reconfirmed their long-time head coach and the full coaching staff.
“We took the time to analyze this question calmly, objective and proper,” SIHA president Philippe Gaydoul said. “Today, we are convinced that from the sport point of view there’s no immediate need of action and that national team coach Ralph Krueger together with his team can achieve the specified goals.”
However, Gaydoul also made it clear in a statement that “economic reasons” were also part of the decision in favour of Krueger. Additionally, it was just announced that Krueger will be coach in view of the Olympics, while it will be decided after the performance in Vancouver if Krueger will also be coach at the 2010 World Championship. The board also announced to Krueger “with unmistakable clearness” that reaching the top-8 at the Olympics is the minimum goal of the Swiss Ice Hockey Association.
While the Swiss reconfirmed Krueger, they defined a job profile for the future coach, who will also be responsible for the U20 national team, which is currently coached by Jakob Kölliker. Consequently, Krueger’s era will end next year after 13 seasons as the national team coach of Switzerland.
Bergström leaves Team Austria
While the Swiss confirmed Krueger, the Austrian Ice Hockey Association and their Swedish head coach Lars Bergström will go separate ways.
Bergström was signed for the 2007-2008 season and brought the team up to the top division. However, last season he didn’t fulfil the goals as Austria didn’t qualify for the Olympic Winter Games and was relegated at the 2009 World Championship.
Now, the Austrians want to rebuild the team with young players and a new coach.